Meningitis is a type of infection that occurs within the lining of the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by a fungus, a virus or most seriously, a bacteria. Meningitis usually occurs due to the progression of another infection in the body, such as in the ears, sinus or respiratory tract, that spreads through the bloodstream and infects the tissue (called meninges) that surrounds the brain. It is most common in children but can affect anyone of any age, especially those with a weakened immune system.
Bacterial Meningitis is the most severe form of this infection and if not treated quickly, could lead to permanent brain damage or even death. Other forms of meningitis are usually treated much more easily and have a better overall recovery rate than that of the bacterial form.
What are the Symptoms of Meningitis?
The symptoms of a meningitis infection may differ depending on the form of meningitis that has been contracted, whether it be bacterial, viral or fungal. Some of the most common symptoms, however are:
- Stiffness in the neck
- Pain when trying to touch your chin to your chest
- Headache, often severe
- Sensitivity to light
- Nausea and vomiting
- Confusion or unusual behavior
How is Meningitis Contracted?
Meningitis is extremely contagious and is spread by coming into contact with the infection. It can be in contaminated food or can be spread by coughing or sneezing. An infection will usually start elsewhere in the body and then progress into the bloodstream where it can then travel to the tissues in the lining of the brain and the spinal cord. If these delicate areas become infected, meningitis occurs and immediate treatment is needed to keep the infection from getting worse and causing permanent damage.
To avoid getting sick it is best to stay away from someone who is known to be infected with meningitis. It is also important to practice good hygiene and wash your hands frequently to stop the spread of germs. Vaccination is another excellent way to protect yourself and your family from contracting meningitis.
If you suspect that you or a loved one may be exhibiting symptoms of meningitis it is important to seek medical treatment immediately. A visit to www.mylivemd.com can get you the advice that you need quickly from a fully qualified doctor or specialist. If you have questions or concerns, don’t hesitate. Our doctors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and are prepared to assist you with all of your healthcare needs.
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